Will the new Stellantis purchasing chief improve supplier relationships?

PARIS — Stellantis has shuffled key leadership positions, naming Maxime Picat, currently head of its Enlarged Europe region, as head of purchasing and supply chain, replacing Michelle Wen, who has left the automaker.

Picat will be replaced in Europe by Uwe Hochgeschurtz, now head of the Opel/Vauxhall brand. His successor at Opel/Vauxhall will be Florian Huettl, head of sales and marketing at Opel.

Other changes include the appointment of Alison Jones, head of Stellantis UK, as senior vice president for the company’s circular economy recylcing business.

Paul Willcox, the head of Vauxhall in the UK, will add Jones’ Stellantis responsibilities in the UK to his portfolio.

“These appointments represent the bold ambitions of our strategic plan Dare Forward 2030,” CEO Carlos Tavares said Wednesday in a release announcing the appointments. 

Picat, 48, had led the Enlarged Europe region since Stellantis started operations in January 2021 after the merger of PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. He had held a similar post in PSA from 2016 to 2021. Before that, he was Peugeot brand CEO from 2012 to 2016, and he worked in China for four years, as deputy general manager and then general manager of PSA’s joint venture in China with Dongfeng.

Stellantis has had a difficult relationship with many suppliers — especially in North America — where it made controversial changes to its purchase order terms and conditions for 2022 that can force suppliers to reduce prices whenever they achieve any cost savings and to remain locked into unfavorable contracts for as long the automaker wants.